Loading...

Thursday, December 08, 2016

TRUMP AND MACEDONIA - Part 1


TRUMP AND MACEDONIA: what’s in store for Macedonia? - Part 1 - (Prelude) 

By Sasha Uzunov

You all have been amused or bemused by some enterprising Macedonian teenagers from the town of Veles who made some very good money in running "fake news" assisting  Donald Trump win the US Presidency against favourite Hillary Rodham Clinton. It's a cute funny story - probably a Hollywood move in the making down the track, perhaps a Disney teen coming of age film ! Zac Efron, Lindsey Lohan or Taylor Swift as stars. Probably too old by the time the film is ever made.

There is a perception amongst Macedonians both in the Republic of Macedonia and abroad - and perceptions are sometimes more important that realities - that Trump is pro Macedonian as opposed to Hillary, seen as pro Albanian. The scope of this story is not to go over old ground - Hillary and husband Bill, US President (1993-2001) and their support for the Kosovar War in 1999 which then spilt over into Macedonia in 2001 - because of US aid to the Kosovo Liberation Army.

We have ex-US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger plus a number western commentators such as Charles Krauthammer who saw the 2001 war in Macedonia as simply a land grab by the Kosovo Liberation Army wrapped up or hidden by the demand for "Albanian rights" in Macedonia. There are those who dispute this assertion. Be that as it may. On the whole, in one shape or form US culpability remains

We still don't know what Trump's views are about Macedonia - there have been murmuring from advisers about support for Macedonia. But we will have to wait and see after the dust settles where Trump actually stands. Will he pressure Greece to stop its outrageous destabilisation of Macedonia? Will he give short shrift to Albanian separatists who are simply looking for any excuse to break away from Macedonia, no matter that their demands keep getting more and more deliberately unfulfillable?

POLARISATION THEORY OR FACT? - Washington’s Belgradists, Albanian separatists, and Bulgarianists in Macedonia?  Greece’s historical ally and proxy in the Balkans is Serbia. What Athens can’t do, Belgrade can…The US doesn’t lift a finger to stop it? In recent times we saw the European Union and the United States lean on EU and NATO member Croatia to remove any veto to Serbia’s application to join the EU. Yet the EU and US can’t do the same for Greece’s nearly three decade long blocking of Macedonia, since it became independent from Yugoslavia in 1991. Why? 

Is there a deliberate polarisation of Macedonian culture and society pushed and pulled by Pristina-Belgrade-Sofia; thus making Macedonia virtually ungovernable until it self-implodes? Why hasn’t the US done anything about it? As we shall see below TEAM UZUNOV will go into some detail but first a prelude to set the mood.

Out of left field - Washington’s Belgradists / Baathists in Macedonia!

Imagine if back in 2003 with the toppling of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq, the U.S. sponsored NGOs, human rights activists and journalists who were hardcore Baathists and fanatical Saddam followers to promote "Western values" - whatever that ethereal beasts might be.

These people were publicly mouthing what was required of them and writing flowery articles criticising extremism but alongside this they were going on Social Media and longing for the return of Saddam, Tariq Aziz, the Republican Guard and the “bad old good days".

Your immediate reaction would be that these people are not sincere and questions would be asked back in Washington. You would probably have some Congressional or Senate hearing asking how can this be?

The funny thing is - this similar scenario has developed in the Republic of Macedonia decades after the collapse of Yugoslavia.

It sounds odd but true. The U.S. has engaged Macedonian activists, journalists best described as Belgradists, Serbian Cultural Hegemonists, Yugoslavists, and authoritarians masquerading as “internationalists” who don’t believe in the concept of an independent Macedonian state nor an independent Macedonia culture.

How was this possible? - Prelude:

2002 - A rude introduction to the “Draskovic Double Act” in Macedonia and Serbian Cultural Hegemony - the “Pro Americans” who really hate the United States !


22 November 2002 - “Hey, you’re an American spy! But I’m writing for Putin’s Pravda !”

DOWN ON THE BORDER ! Tabanovce and the “elite’s paranoia.”

On 22 November 2002, I attended a media conference at the Holiday Inn, Skopje, Macedonia, for the International Crisis Group, involved in the country after the ethnic Albanian uprising.


ICG official Ed Joseph was about to hand down a report on Macedonian corruption, including an attack on the ousted Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski VMRO-DPMNE government, which lost the national election earlier in September of that year.

My Macedonian Press accreditation - I was registered as a stringer for Australia’s state-run multicultural broadcaster SBS - its radio section.

Before I entered the Holiday Inn hotel (formerly known as Grand Hotel), I noticed a Macedonian journalist, Ana PETRUSEVA, the Reuters correspondent. I went up to her and politely asked if she had seen American journalist, Chris Deliso, a strong critic of the ICG.

Within seconds her face turned a violent red then purple, and her body shook with fury as if Skopje had been hit with another earthquake.

She then let me have it: I had no place being at the media conference because I was a CIA agent. I was part of the evil West. The West had no place in Macedonia or the Balkans or Yugoslavia. I had to leave Macedonia immediately !

For a second, I thought I was hearing ultra Serb nationalist Vojislav Seselj put on one of this media performances…but Ana wasn’t wearing a “shajkacha” - the traditional Serb cap… I rubbed my eyes just to make sure it was her !

I didn’t know what to make of such a “performance” from Ana. She after all was the pro American, the “internationalist” and “anti nationalist.” A recipient of a US college scholarship to study in the US… She wass more American than the Americans.

This was my rude awakening to what I call the Draskovic Double Act - and Serbian Cultural Hegemony - Macedonians who claim to be “internationalists” but are hard line Belgradists. People such as journalists and “activists” Borjan Jovanovski, Branko Geroski etc. (more on this later).

In hindsight, her comments are hilarious because she was taking “Western cash” from Reuters. But I was the “decadent Western imperialist.” Hilarious. A Jerry Seinfeld comedy moment !


Yet I was writing for Pravda, the Russian newspaper at the time ! - see link.  Go figure?


Photo: ICG media conference 2002. Photo by Sasha Uzunov.
Ed Joseph (left), Nicholas Whyte (centre). Translator (right)

After this false denunciation of being a CIA spy, I was “invited" to the Macedonian Interior Ministry (MVR) for a “friendly chat.” I had MVR or SDB/DBK (security service) intelligence officers, usually a male with a female, turn up uninvited at my regular table at Del-fufo restaurant in Skopje, which made great pizzas.

In January 2003, I was pulled off a bus at the Tabanovce border checkpoint by Macedonian police after returning from a trip to Belgrade, Serbia and Hungary, following up a story about the US using a NATO Hungarian NATO base to secretly train an Iraqi Army funded by the CIA for the upcoming Iraq War - a kind of Bay of Pigs operation which didn’t eventually get off the ground.


PHOTO CAPTION:
US Army base at Taszar, Kaposvar, Hungary. Iraqi exiles were being trained for an Iraqi army before the war broke out in 2003. Published as a Front page photo in The Ottawa Citizen newspaper (Canada), "Canadians training for post-Saddam Iraq," story by Scott Taylor. January 24, 2003. Photo by Sasha Uzunov.

On the 23 January 2003, I was pulled off a bus at the Tabanovce border checkpoint by Macedonian police after returning from a trip to Belgrade, Serbia and Hungary

I sensed something was wrong when they entered the bus and instead of checking other passengers’ passports went straight for me - I was sitting right at the back of the bus - and told me to get out. Both had their Kalashnikovs drawn. They said I had an issue with a “visa irregularity” even though I had left Macedonian over 48 hours prior and was told there would be no issue when I did return to Tabanovce.

I was made to wait in the snow. I asked if I could seek shelter inside the checkpoint office. The Border post commander then became aggressive and started swearing and shouted how dare I ask such a thing. He had, he said, worked all his life, to get that warm comfortable chair (fotelja) and he wasn’t going to share it with anybody !

I was literally walked at gunpoint by two Macedonian Border Police almost right to the border with Serbia. Some time passed, a bus heading for Belgrade arrived and I was physically pushed into the bus. The driver was ordered to take me to Belgrade !

I reached Belgrade and headed for the Macedonian Embassy. I,  then copying Ana Petruseva’s routine, began to act aggressive and started screaming to get attention. Eventually I was spoken to by an embassy official. I explained my situation. He said there must have been a misunderstanding. He would smooth things out. There would be no hassles.

I eventually made my way back to Skopje. Eventually the harassment form MVR tapered off !

-----
I FEARED MACEDONIAN POLICE MORE THAN IRAQ AL-QAEDA - During my trip to Iraq in 2005 I passed into Skopje, the capital city of Macedonia and was interviewed by a Macedonian journalist for Vreme (Time) newspaper, August 2005.

The title of the story was Vojnata e valkana rabota - War is a dirty business (or work).

He asked me about Iraq and I told him of an incident in late 2002 / early 2003 where I was pulled off a bus on the Serbian-Macedonian border by Macedonian border police and held at gunpoint over “alleged" visa issues. The journalist made the wry and witty observation: “znaci poloso si pominal so nasata policija otkolku od Irak…”

Translation: “you had a worse time in dealing with our [Macedonian] police than in Iraq..."

- Looking back, it is hilarious now but I can reassure you having a Kalashnikov pointing into your back by the Macedonian Border Police was no laughing matter at the time!
---------

WHAT IS THE DRASKOVIC DOUBLE ACT? 

Simply put, it is saying one thing in public but holding a very different view in private. My experiences in Macedonia during 2002-03 and in dealings with local journalists revealed this double act - publicly and cynically pro American but privately anti American and pro Serb. So you might get a cute story “criticising” say Serb dictator Slobodan Milosevic or Serb nationalism but more out of opportunism than out of genuine motivation. You never get any protests in Skopje against Serb extremism. These people are also obsessed with blaming a soft target, alleged Macedonian nationalism for Macedonia’s ills. It’s nothing more than a red herring used to polarise Macedonians and Albanians.

I’ve dubbed the routine after ultra Serb nationalist Vuk Draskovic who in 1991, oddly, told a western newspaper, see link, that he wanted to cantonise or federalise Macedonia because he was concerned about “Albanian rights” but, according to a CIA report from 1990 -contradicting the 1991 statement from Draskovic - coming down hard on Milosevic for being too soft on Kosovar separatists. see link

Draskovic interview - 21 March 1991 

Draskovic’s intentions in jumping upon the Albanian rights bandwagon wasn’t out of a genuine concern for Albanians nor Macedonians but to set both groups at each other’s throats, thereby giving ammunition to Albanian separatists in Macedonia. Federalising Macedonia would mean the end of the country. It would fall apart, and whatever was left would be absorbed by Serbia or Bulgaria.

Albanian separatism in Macedonia and the perceived US’s support of it, will also be discussed in part 2, as will Washington’s turning of a blind eye to NATO ally, Bulgaria, and its nationalist interference in Macedonia.

Ana Petruseva isn’t the only one who uses the double act - there are many more like her in Macedonia (see link here), including those openly anti US journalists who support the Macedonian government such as Milenko Nedelkovski - his claim to be a Macedonian “patriot” but his contradictory concern for Republika Srpska in Bosnia !

A classic and blatant example of the Draskovic Double Act comes from Macedonian pundit, Borjan Jovanovski.

In 1991 - as a Voice of America correspondent based in Skopje, the Macedonian capital, Jovanovski urged his fellow Macedonians to give up Yugoslavism and its concomitant, Serbian Cultural Hegemony, but even he couldn’t bring himself to use such terms instead employing the sugarcoated euphemism of “Brotherhood and Unity.” - see link.

In 2015, almost twenty five years of Macedonian independence from Yugoslavia, Jovanovski told his 10,000 plus followers on Twitter that he wanted Macedonia to return to defacto Serb-Yugoslavist rule. A move that would lead to certain civil war. We can now see his 1991 statement was made out of cynicism, otherwise why would you want to return to Yugoslavist rule, which the Albanians opposed for over 40 years in Kosovo? - see link . It’s taking US taxpayer dollars as a Voice of America correspondent under false pretenses.

But we have to ask why does the United States, knowing these people’s flimsy allegiance to the West, give them succour? What is Washington’s end state in using Macedonian Belgradists?

PART 2 - coming soon… 











Tuesday, November 29, 2016

WHAT ASIO DIDN'T TELL YOU


WHAT ASIO DIDN’T TELL YOU 

The Secret Cold War: The Official History of ASIO1975-1989 -  Dr John Blaxland & Rhys Crawley.
by Sasha Uzunov
The latest volume of the official ASIO history has been met with enormous interest over its revelations that Australia's counter-intelligence organisation was penetrated by Soviet moles during the Cold War but what ASIO doesn't tell you is that another foreign intelligence service was able to penetrate the Australian Labor Party's Socialist Left faction via the wife of a federal parliamentarian.
Author and academic Dr John Blaxland in Volume 3 of the ASIO history, The Secret Cold War (1975-89) briefly touches upon Yugoslav intelligence (known as UDBa or SDB) operations directed against Australia’s Croatian community, including the infamous Croatian Six case, where six local Croats were set up by an undercover agent posing as a Croat, and were convicted of bogus terrorism in 1981. A travesty of justice. link here and here
Blaxland admits that it was a wrongful conviction, however, the Croatian Six have never been pardoned. Once of those involved in the case included New South Wales detective Roger Rogerson, now discredited as corrupt and in jail for murder over a drug deal gone wrong.
One name that is mentioned in passing by Blaxland is a Yugoslav intelligence officer by the name of Mate Kuvacic, involved in provokatsiya operations - the planting of bombs to make it appear the work of "terrorists" and thereby discredit the cause of dissidents.
Provokatsiya operations was a technique pioneered by the Tsarist Russian secret police called the Ohrana. It involved the use of bogus dissidents used to infiltrate left wing revolutionaries at the end of the 19th century. After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the Soviet government then perfected the use of Provokatsiya and passed it on to satellite states such as Tito's Communist Yugoslavia, before its split from the Soviet bloc in 1948 at the onset of the Cold War.
My own extensive research, applying for ASIO documents via the National Archives of Australia which are now online for public perusal, reveals that during the 1980s Mate Kuvacic was receiving ALP membership applications, from migrants such as Croats and Macedonians who had originally come from Yugoslavia, from Vera Kent, the wife of a then Federal MP, to vet for any anti Yugoslav sentiment.
Declassified ASIO files, which are online, reveal that Vera “Vladislava” Kent, wife of Lewis “Bata” Kent, Australian Labor Party (Socialist Left faction) and Member of Parliament , for the federal seat of Hotham (1980-90) were both “Yugoslav activists” in Australia.
In 1983 Vera Kent, in her powerful position with the Victorian Ethnic Affairs Commission, also handed over list of Victorian migrant organisations to the Yugoslav consul in Melbourne Antun Buneta to vet for anti-Yugoslavist activities. link here and here
Lewis Kent, according to his ASIO file, threatened to burn down Croatian churches in Melbourne during the mid 1960s and had come to the attention of Australia's spooks.
Mate Kuvacic was a very powerful and feared man in Australia - he even had a fellow Yugoslav diplomat, a Macedonian, Nikola Nesovski, removed in 1988 for being too close to Australia's Macedonia's community as well as trying to reach out to the Muslim Bosnian community.
Communist Yugoslavia was a multi-ethnic federation made up of Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Muslim Bosnians, Hungarians, Albanians with Serbia playing a culturally hegemonistic role. In 1991 with the rise in Serbian nationalism, Yugoslavia fell apart and descended into a brutal war which later saw the emergence of independent states of Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo.
The Communist Yugoslav government kept a close watch on emigre Croats, Macedonians and to a lesser extent Serbs in Australia.
Blaxland in his book reveals that Yugoslav intelligence attempted a number of assassinations which were fortunately thwarted by ASIO in the late 1970s and 80s.
A 1969 murder in the quiet leafy Melbourne suburb of Caulfield still remains a Cold Case with Victoria Police. Gay Croat Yago Despot and his Australian partner Alfred Hughes were murdered excecution style, with a single bullet to the head each. ASIO documents reveal that it might have been a Yugoslav intelligence hit on Despot, a lawyer by training and a private detective in Melbourne, who refused to act as an informer within Croatia’s community.
Despot, prior to his death, had contacted ASIO about concerns to his life. link here
SIDE NOTE:
Not much has been published on Greek and Bulgarian espionage in Australia especially against the Macedonian and Turkish communities. TEAM UZUNOV has uncovered some interesting information.
Links here and here and here

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

MACEDONIA - DECADE WAIT FOR EU ENTRY

EU ADVISOR - MACEDONIA: ANOTHER DECADE OF WAITING FOR EU MEMBERSHIP

TEAM UZUNOV EXCLUSIVE - EU’s Dr Nathalie Tocci on Macedonia

by Sasha Uzunov - dateline: Melbourne, Australia, 26 September 2016.

The European Union’s top security advisor has blamed the EU’s membership process over Macedonia and Turkey’s inability to join the EU, is disappointed that both countries have not headed in the direction she would have liked and Macedonia may have to wait another decade, regardless of EU member state Greece’s opposition, before the EU begins accepting new members but she has affirmed her support for Macedonia’s right to its national identity, independence and territorial integrity.

Dr Nathalie Tocci, who was a guest speaker at the Australian Institute of International Affairs in Melbourne tonight, is the Special Adviser to the European Union’s High Representative, Federica Mogherini. Dr Tocci was discussing the EU’s new blueprint on security, which she drafted.

The document is titled “Shared Vision, Common Action: a stronger Europe - Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy,” and was released in June 2016.

After her talk, she took questions from the floor.

Dr Tocci was responding to a TEAM UZUNOV question:

“The Republic of Macedonia is in a deep and prolonged political crisis due to claims over a government corruption and wire-tapping scandal.

“To add to this dangerous situation, there is Greece’s deliberate blocking of Macedonia’s name, increasing Bulgarian meddling; rising Albanian separatist sentiment and a leading Macedonian journalist who claims EU support, Mr Borjan Jovanovski, has gone to the extreme of wanting to return Macedonia to de-facto Serbian-Yugoslavist rule - such a crazy move would lead to certain civil war in Macedonia and spread across the Balkans. (link)

“Dr Tocci, do you support Macedonia’s right to its national identity, independence and territorial integrity?”




DR TOCCI: “the short answer is obviously yes…the slightly longer answer is what can we do about it?

“Obviously Macedonia is not heading in a great direction. I relate this back to the answer on Turkey. The only way in which you can have influence in these countries if it has a credible process.

"In the case of these countries we are talking about an accession process. If for years the accession process with a country like Macedonia is blocked because of a name issue what does that do to our credibility?

"Now of course it’s easier and you know I speak half with my hat as a scholar and half with hat as an advisor, so I realise all the complexities behind that name blocking there is a long history between Greece and Macedonia.

"But still there is, and I think this is a point…we have a responsibility in our internal debates to member states - is it in our interest or not to see Macedonia moving in a particular direction - what instruments or leverage do we have - if the answer to that question is - ‘it’s the accession process, stupid’ - we got to make it credible.

"So it’s a long and painful process. The other side to this is also broader… enlargement was a huge success for central and eastern Europe but people are now beginning to have doubts after the migration crisis- but that’s a different story.

"…It’s quite clear we are not heading to new enlargements anytime soon. So there is a real challenge how do you maintain the flame alive in what will probably be the best part of a decade in which we have to reorganise ourselves internally and then weather the storm and then look out again and eventually take in new members.”

------
Other story:

25 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE - CAN MACEDONIA SURVIVE?

SASHA UZUNOV INTERVIEW FOR ITALIAN INSIDER WEBSITE - link here


Monday, August 15, 2016

CIA NOT AUTHORISED TO ANNOUNCE ?




FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST  DENIED - THE CIA CAN NEITHER CONFIRM NOR DENY !
by Sasha Uzunov
The United States’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has turned down a TEAM UZUNOV request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to release any files or materials on a leading Macedonian “Yugoslavist” believed to have worked under cover in the West as an intelligence operative for Communist Yugoslavia’s spy service known as UDBa or SDB during the 1970s and 1980s.

The CIA’s response was puzzling: It can neither confirm nor deny the existence nor the non-existence of a file on the leading Macedonian “Yugoslavist.”
However, the CIA has rejected the request for the ‘existent’ or ‘non-existent’ file because it is still classified and is being used by another federal agency.
That’s odd but very interesting. In other words, reading between the lines and navigating through the deliberate obfuscation, there is a file on this person and they are still “in play” or possibly active on behalf on Serbia, which inherited the federal spy service apparatus after Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Hercegovina and Macedonia all declared their independence from Yugoslavia in 1991.

For legal reasons TEAM UZUNOV cannot name the individual until the CIA file is released.
TEAM UZUNOV has spent decades searching through the archives of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and has uncovered a gold mine of information relating to UDBa. 



TEAM UZUNOV WILL BE APPEALING THE CIA DECISION.

TABOO - Yugoslavism? Serbian cultural hegemony in Macedonia?
Yugoslavism, Serbian cultural hegemony and collaborating with the then Yugoslav secret police remains a very touchy subject in Macedonia. Trying to discussing it is almost impossible as both political sides in Macedonia’s political divide that is from the ethnic Macedonia side- VMRO-DPMNE and SDSM parties, even today to vary degrees indulge in Serbian cultural hegemony.
So you get a pro VMRO-DPMNE media mouthpiece and tv show talk show host Milenko Nedelkovski who attends Serbian nationalist conferences in Belgrade in which Republika Srpska in Bosnia is defended, even though Republika Srpska has nothing to do with Macedonian patriotism whilst Nedelkovski’s arch-nemesis Borjan Jovanovski who opposes Nikola Gruevski has called for Macedonia to in effect give up its independence and return to de facto Serbian / Belgradist federal rule. see link here
LUSTRATION - not illuminating ! 
A Lustration commission set up by then Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski (2006-16) began looking at informers from communist times (1944-91) but the process soon became mirred in controversy with claims that some of the documents released were fabricated and that certain individuals close to the Gruevski government were not vetted. see link here 
A TEAM UZUNOV investigation has revealed that Macedonia’s Ambassador to NATO from 2010-14 and hand picked by PM Gruevski for the job, Mr Martin Trenevski had, according to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), been an operative for UDBa under journalistic cover in Australia from 1986-89. see link here and here.  

Another individual within Gruevski’s inner circle, Ivan “Vane” Petreski (nickname Joe), the leader of the Matica or Institute for Macedonian Emigres, was, according to ASIO documents, deported from Australia in 1981 after “overstaying his visa.” He had been arrested for assaulting two Australian Macedonians in Melbourne and also threatening to assassinate one of them. A Victoria State Police report within the ASIO files stated that Petreski was a suspected YIS (Yugoslav Intelligence Service) operative. TEAM UZUNOV broke this story last year on Facebook - see the link here 
And only recently a Macedonian news website which is pro SDSM picked up the story…link here 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

THE DAY OF THE JUGOSLAVIST - 1969 Yugoslav assassination in Australia


Life imitates art 
The day of the Jackal - The day of the Jugoslavist!
TEAM UZUNOV exclusive - we uncover a Yugoslav Intelligence (UDBa) assassination made to look like a  lovers quarrel in Melbourne, Australia, March 1969.

We discover Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) documents which reveal a story within a story, a film noir that Quentin Tarantino would be proud of. In fact, a pot-boiler that has British author Freddie Forsyth written all over it…In his action thriller novel, The Day of the Jackal (1971)--a work of fiction woven around real life events, the assassination attempt on French President General Charles De Gaulle in 1963--the assassin deliberately picks up a man in a Paris gay bar, kills him and hides out in his flat (apartment), knowing the authorities would not look for him there. see link.

Njegoslav “Yago” Despot - art imitates life ?!
Two years before the Forsyth book came out, in 1969 - the mysterious murder of Melbourne private detective and lawyer Njegoslav “Yago Despot, 44 ! 
Despot, a gay Croat and his partner, Charles Hughes, 39, were found murdered, professional execution style, with both victims killed by a single bullet to the head. At the time the Victorian State Police had publicly ruled out a political motive, but the 1972 declassified intelligence reports by ASIO explored the Yugoslav intelligence connection.  

In early March 1969 Hughes’s pet dog, a collie, was noticed whimpering and acting in a distressed manner at the South Caulfiend home, in Melbourne’s east, shared by both men. A concerned neighbour raised the alarm with police.
Post mortem revealed they had been shot with a .22 calibre pistol or rifle fitted with a silencer.
One of the victims was found naked head down in an empty bathtub, the other in the lounge room. This suggests the killer or killers may have been known to the two victims.
ASIO managed to connect the dots and discovered that Despot had been pressured to spy for Yugoslav intelligence, which he declined and informed ASIO about it. He had earlier shared a house in St Kilda, Melbourne inner beach suburb with a mysterious stranger called Borivoj Viskovic, identified as an UDBa officer. 
Did UDBa murder both men because Despot refused to act as an informer? Was it a homophobic killing ? Homosexuality was outlawed in Tito’s Yugoslavia in 1959 and only decriminalised after the collapse of Yugoslavia. In Serbia it was 1994 and Macedonia in 1997. The motivation will probably remain unknown. The murder is still officially unsolved.

What we do know is Despot came from a large Roman Catholic Croat family and emigrated in Australia in 1959 at the same time as the Yugoslav communist authorities outlawed homosexuality. He was active in a migrant organisation in Melbourne called the Yugoslav Settlers Association, a front used by Yugoslav intelligence (UDBa) to monitor Croat, Serb, Macedonian emigres in Australia.

Just before his death, Despot was visiting a relative in his native Dalmatian coastal town of Zaostrog in Croatia, then under Yugoslav rule, but cut short his holiday to return to Australia. He had been pressured by the Yugoslav authorities to become an informer, which he refused. He may have been blackmailed over his private life, which Viskovic, having lived with him in the early mid 1960s, may have discovered details of.

By the sounds of it, Despot feared for his life. And having had an earlier friendship with a suspected UDBa officer, Viskovic, had to be silenced before he was able to reveal more. This remains speculation but the ASIO report (see below) from 1972 has outlined a strong circumstantial case, three years after the double murder.

UDBa, which was modelled upon Soviet intelligence, was known for using dirty tricks. One standard procedure pioneered by Soviet intelligence, once known as the KGB, was to take compromising photos of a target. In the 1950s, a clerk in the British Embassy in Moscow, John Vassall, a gay man, was plied with alcohol and then photographed in compromising situations with other men. He was blackmailed into spying for the Soviet Union. His cover was blown in 1961 after a Soviet defector revealed his identity. Vassall was convicted of espionage and spent 10 years in a British jail.
UDBa conducted a bloody campaign of murdering emigre dissidents, mainly Croat nationalists and separatists based in Western Europe. However, a number of Serb and Albanian nationalists were assassinated abroad.

Yugoslavia was a multi-ethnic communist federation made up of Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, Macedonians, Montenegrins plus sizeable populations of ethnic Hungarians and Albanians. It fell apart in 991 because of Serbian nationalism. 
From 1944 to 1980, it was ruled by Marshal Josip Broz Tito, a former Stalinist who broke with Moscow in 1948.

Yago Despot had no history of any kind of Croat nationalist activity but had been a popular figure in Melbourne community amongst the Croats, Serbs, Macedonians who had emigrated from Yugoslavia to Australia. 






UPDATE: 

Victoria Police Homicide Squad confirmed the double homicide is still a 47 year old cold case…
A Victoria Police spokesman released this statement to TEAM UZUNOV:
“The case is unsolved and is considered a “cold case’, although not currently active, which means that the case file is in storage, pending the receipt of any new information.

COLD CASE
The grave of Charles Alfred Hughes, buried along with his mother - his 1969 murder remains unsolved by VICTORIA Police. It is strongly suspected he was an innocent victim of the Yugoslav secret police (UDBa) in its war against emigre opponents of the regime living in Australia TEAM UZUNOV tracks down his last resting place…in Melbourne’s Springvale Botanical Cemetery, state of Victoria, Australia…(photos by Sasha Uzunov). We gave the grave a clean up.


UPDATE:

Homicide Squad - Victoria Police - spokesman releases statement over 1969 Yago Despot Cold Case murder:

"I have made enquiries with homicide and they won’t release the coroner’s report (because it is still an open investigation and has information in it that we would not want made public) Things like the exact calibre of the firearm used is an example, if we put it out publicly then we lose the ability to check informants/witness stories for genuine accuracy. ie. if someone knows something that has never been publicly released we know that the information is more credible.

"But to help you out I am authorised tell you that both men were killed at close range by a small calibre firearm. I have also been authorised to give you this extract from the Coroners Summary if it helps."

 

Friday, July 15, 2016

MACEDONIA - BACK TO THE FEDERATION?




MACEDONIA - BACK TO THE FEDERATION? - United States supports Macedonia’s independence. by Sasha Uzunov.

During the unfolding crisis in Macedonia, as the tiny Balkan state tries to navigate the stormy political waters, some of Macedonia’s ruling classes have gone to the extreme of wanting to return to the “certainty" of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia, then a unit within federal Yugoslavia (1944-91), which if it were to be seriously implemented today would lead to de facto Serb federal control and certain civil war in Macedonia.

US EMBASSY BACKS MACEDONIA’S SOVEREIGNTY - doesn’t support call for Macedonia to return to defacto Serbian federal rule.

Mr Joseph Mellott a spokesman for the US Ambassador in Macedonia, Mr Jess Baily, gave the following statement to TEAM UZUNOV:

"For more than two decades, the United States has fully supported the Republic of Macedonia’s sovereignty, independence, and integration into the Euro-Atlantic community.”

Critics of the US, including pro Russian supporters in Macedonia, have accused the US government of trying to destablise Macedonia as part of a so called “hybrid war.” The argument goes that it is an attempt to force Macedonia to change its name to appease Greece and the push to remove VMRO-DPMNE Nikola Gruevski as part of that plot. Supporters of the US position argue that the demonstrations which have racked Macedonia for over year, beginning with the release of taped phone conversations detailing alleged corruption by Gruevski are simply a push for clean government.

However, TEAM UZUNOV, in its continued study of Serbian cultural hegemony in Macedonia, hopefully a future book in the offing, takes a look at the continued obsession with Yugoslavism in the country. For many Macedonians, genuine internationalism is often confused with Belgrade urban culture, hence the various contradictions, paradoxes - either intentional or unintentional.

The US Embassy was contacted to clarify its position over contradictory and ambiguous comments over Serbian nationalism made by a leading Macedonian pundit Mr Borjan Jovanoski, who claims to be pro US, and his 2015 call on social media for the “return” of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia - a federal unit within Yugoslavia from 1944 to 1991 - but under Serbian hegemony. A call for the current independent Republic of Macedonia to return to the SRM would in effect mean defacto Serbian federal rule and provoke certain civil war in Macedonia if it were ever implemented. You have to ask why would 99.9% of Macedonia’s Albanians want to return to defacto Serbian rule? Why would a vast majority of Macedonians want to as well, when they voted for independence in 1991.



On 8 September 1991 Macedonia became independent from Yugoslavia after the earlier departures of Slovenia and Croatia. Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic started a war in trying to stop Slovenia and Croatia from leaving and with the intent of creating a Greater Serbia, which would include Macedonia. Milosevic became bog down in his wars in Croatia and Bosnia and had to let Macedonia reluctantly go as he couldn’t sustain a second or third front.

According to leading British journalist, Misha Glenny, the Socialist Republic of Macedonia within the Yugoslav federation had a bad human rights record.

You're trying to present a modern image to the world yet by calling for a return to the Socialist Republic of Macedonia which according to Misha Glenny, treated Albanians far worse than in an independent Macedonian state…you end up with a huge contradiction. It makes no sense. It doesn’t help promote inter-ethnic harmony. The SRM also mistreated Macedonian dissidents. Yugoslavia was after all a one party state. In 1959, Tito’s Yugoslavia outlawed homosexuality, which was only decriminalised in 1997 in an independent Macedonian state.

In 2001 an ethnic Albanian uprising occured in Macedonia as a result of the 1999 NATO war in supporting Kosovo breaking away from Serbia.

As for solving the name dispute with Greece, that is simply a fallacy. Leading Greek academic Spyrdion Sfetas, writing for a Serbian academic journal, Balcanica, in 2012, made Greece’s position clear over the Socialist Republic of Macedonia during the Karamanlis period in the late 1970s, post Junta.

Sfetas explains Greece refused to recognise a Macedonian minority in Greece because it would be implicit recognition of a Macedonian nation, the Socialist Republic of Macedonia in 1978-79.

The Greek formula was to recognise the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia via the capital Belgrade, and playing upon the old Serb-Greek relationship. The question remains how could the use of SRM possibly resolve the name dispute now? Its nonsensical to think that Greece would budge under any circumstance.


UNCOMFORTABLE TRUTHS - Both sides of Macedonian politics, the government of VMRO-DPMNE and the Opposition, SDSM. are to a large extent pro Belgrade. It’s stating the bleeding obvious.

In 2014, Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski surprised a large number of people by announcing a joint embassy sharing agreement with Serbia.

The last time Macedonia “shared” any kind of diplomacy was when it was in Borjan Jovanovski’s SRM.

Gruevski, who was deposed as Prime Minister last year, has cultivated a close relationship with Serbian Prime Minister Alexander Vucic, a one time ultra Serb nationalist and disciple of madman Vojislav Seselj. Vucic maintains he is a “changed man.” You would think that as a way of outflanking Gruevski, SDSM would have a fresh foreign policy - say draw closer to Croatia, which is both an EU and NATO member, but Opposition Leader Zoran Zaev’s strategy is to copy Gruevski, to out-Belgrade the Belgradist.


Criticisms of Serbian nationalism, as a result, have largely been muted in Macedonia by both sides. In 2014, in an outburst reminiscent of a Jihadist hate preacher, the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Archbishop Irinej blamed gay people for causing the massive floods ravaging Serbia and other parts of the Balkans. Such views outlandish views found fertile soil in Macedonia via the powerful state controlled Serbian tabloid media which, which even Borjan Jovanovski acknowledges, yet no Macedonian LGBT activist held a protest outside the office of Irinej’s representative in Macedonia, Zoran Vraniskovski. In effect, Serbian homophobia was given a free pass in Macedonia.

A year later, the Serbian High Court rehabilitated the controversial World War II leader Draza Mihailovic, a rival of Marshal Tito, an advocate of a Greater Serbia who in 1943-44 sent an army known as the Vardar Chetnik Corps (VCC) into Macedonia to destroy Macedonia’s Partizan resistence movement, an unofficial alliance of Macedonian communists and nationalists who had banded together to fight the German and Bulgarian occupiers. The VCC was wiped out by the outstanding leadership of Macedonian Partizan commander Hristjan Todorovski-Karpos.

Neither the supporters of the Macedonian government nor the Opposition protested outside the Serbian Embassy in Skopje over the Mihailovic move.

Earlier this year, when the diminutive Croat Member of the European Parliament Marijana Petir arrived in Skopje to lend her support to Gruevski, she was set upon within a second by protestors. Yet no protests have ever been held in front of the Serbian Embassy in Skopje over the lengthy and deep relationship between Gruevski and Vucic. see link 



Misha Glenny - link here

SITTING ON TWO CHAIRS?

Gruevski mouthpiece, the bombastic TV host Milenko Nedelkovski, who says he is a Macedonian patriot, has associated with ultra Serb nationalist headcases with links to Milorad Dodik, the paranoid ruler of the statelet, Republika Srpska in Bosnia-Hercegovina. Dodik has created a whole routine ranting about the “evil West” but spends a small fortune in paying US lobbyists.

Milenko show in Belgrade !

When a Polish documentary film about ethnic Macedonians in Greece was shown at the European Parliament, neither Milenko nor Borjan attended nor even publicised the film. But their focus has been more on developments in Belgrade. It tells you of the extent of Serbian cultural hegemony when a Macedonian “patriot” Milenko Nedelkovski and a Macedonian “internationalist” take different paths but have the same cultural destination - Belgrade !


This obsession with Serbian cultural hegemony in Macedonia is actually counter-productive: first it tells the world that Macedonians are not serious about their independence gained 25 years ago; and secondly it creates a polarised society - pulled in two directions: Belgrade and Pristina, with no middle ground to tie Macedonians and Albanians together.

Some Macedonians have in recent times confused Macedonian patriotism with Serbian nationalism over a fear of Albanian separatism in Macedonia, event though the major tenent of Serbian nationalism is clearly anti-Macedonian - Macedonians are regarded as South Serbs or as an exotic form of Serb much like Montenegrins !

The 2001 ethnic Albanian uprising in Macedonia had the unintended consequence of letting Greater Serb nationalists such as Vojislav Seselj and Slobodan Milosevic off the hook in the eyes of some Macedonians. However, a large body of Macedonians can see that a Greater Serbia mania feeds a Greater Albanian mania and vice versa. Instead of critiquing Serbian cultural hegemony, which Macedonian “internationalists” themselves indulge in, the easy and lazy option has been to pin the blame on alleged “ultra Macedonian extremism.”

American writer Chris Deliso has explaind that by their very nature Macedonians are generally submissive and have to be prodded into action. This tallies with Serbian cultural hegemony in Macedonia…and with the observations of Misha Glenny.



CAN MACEDONIA SURVIVE?

Macedonia will soon celebrate 25 years of independence - can Macedonia survive as an independent nation-state or will it be torn apart by three cultural polarities pulling and pushing the country - The Pristina, Belgrade and Sofia axis - Albanian separatists, Belgradists and Bulgarianists?

Can Macedonia's elite cut its addiction to Serbian cultural hegemony or will this addiction cost Macedonia its very independence?

You have both sides in Macedonia's political bloc, SDSM and VMRO-DPMNE who still look towards Belgrade for "guidance"

There is a Vrhovist faction (pro Bulgarian faction known as Supremists) also gaining a toehold in Macedonia.

When Macedonian elite members from opposing sides and who hate each other - Borjan Jovanovski and Milenko Nedelkovski share the same cultural addiction, Belgradism, then that doesn't leave Macedonia in a secure position.

Recently, an Albanian politician Tahir Veliu visited Macedonia preaching a Greater Albania, which would include a slice of Macedonia and would mean the end of Macedonia. see link here

There was silence from Levica (Leftists) and Colour Revolutionists who proclaim they are against "foreign interference;" there was silence from Borjan; there was silence from Milenko - meaning that a deliberate Pristina (Tirana) - Belgrade cultural polarity is being pushed in Macedonia. Add the Bulgarianists into the mix, taking advantage...

The problem isn't so much an "ethno-Macedonian nationalism" - which the West has misread - but the three way cultural polarity or axis that is pulling, pushing Macedonia. The solution is to navigate these treacherous waters and remain independent.




Tuesday, July 12, 2016

JNA DOWN - Slovenia’s brave fight for freedom

1991 - We have an Mi-8 down, JNA chopper is down…. JNA bird is down..
JNA helicopter brought down in Slovenia's fight for freedom.. 
JNA = Yugoslav People’s Army.

25 YEARS OF SLOVENIAN INDEPENDENCE
by Sasha Uzunov 

On the 25th of June 1991 Slovenia and Croatia both declared their independence from Yugoslavia, and ultimately opened up the door for Macedonian independence on 8 September 1991.

Slovenia had become disenchanted with rising Serbian nationalism in Yugoslavia and matters came to head with the advent of Serb strongman Slobodan Milosevic, with his plans for a transformation of communist Federal Yugoslavia into a more centralised state, under tighter control by Belgrade and later of a Greater Serbia.


Top: Ante Markovic (the last Prime Minister of Federal Yugoslavia - 1989-91. Bottom left: General Veljko Kadijevic, Federal Defence Minister; Slobodan Milosevic; Vlado Kambovski.

MACEDONIAN “BELGRADIST” - YUGOSLAV JUSTICE MINISTER KAMBOVSKI

In 1990 - Slovenia was warned in the Federal Yugoslav parliament by the then Justice Minister, Vlado Kambovski, a Macedonian, with the possible threat of violence if it dared secede.

"The government will ''undertake energetic steps to protect reforms and objective, common interests of all peoples and nationalities'' in Yugoslavia, Kambovski said without elaboration.”

Kambovski was doing the bidding of Milosevic and gave him the legal “cover” he would later use, when he ordered JNA tanks to invade Slovenia on 26 June 1991, a day after Slovenia declared independence.

In December 1991, Yugoslav Prime Minister Ante Markovic resigned whilst Kambovski stayed on until June 1992, almost a year after his home republic of Macedonia declared its independence in September 1991... By staying on until June 1992, Kambovski in effect was agreeing with Milosevic's policies and behaviour. Kambovski did not resign in June 1992, his position ceased to exist as SFR Yugoslavia ceased to exist, meaning he stayed on till the last minute… Why Kambovski was never indicted by the War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague remains a mystery

Markovic, later testified as a witness in Milosevic's trial at the Hague in 2003:

Ante Marković, who was Prime Minister of Yugoslavia from March 1989 until his resignation in December 1991, said that this was the first time in the past twelve years that he had made public his views on these events.

In his subsequent testimony against the former president of FRY, Yugoslavia’s last premier Ante Marković said that during the 1990s Milošević was ‘obviously striving to create a Greater Serbia. He said one thing and did another. He said that he was fighting for Yugoslavia, while it was clear that he was fighting for a Greater Serbia, even though he never said so personally to me.’

Testifying about military activities in 1991, he described the attack on Slovenia of 26 June for which some hold him responsible. He insisted that he was not responsible for it, and that as prime minister he had no control over the JNA. The Slovenian president Milan Kučan informed him about the attack by telephone, while the Yugoslav minister of defence Veljko Kadijević told him: ‘Since we knew you wouldn’t agree, we didn’t bother to ask you.’



MILAN KUCAN RISES TO THE OCCASION: 

DIGNITY IN THE FACE OF FEAR - "The right to dream." 26 June 1991 - President of Slovenia Milan Kucan made a simple but dignified and moving speech delivered against a backdrop of tension, fear, and impending invasion...from the more powerful Federal Yugoslavist armed forces in its bid to crush Slovenia's right to independence. Even now when you watch the video, you can feel the earie tension, the calm before the storm.

President Kucan:

"With a birth a man acquires the right to dream. With work we acquire the right to advance one's life dreams.

"Yesterday we combined both for the Slovenes who once dreamt of this and for future generations who will build a new world.

"Now we shall enter a family of free, independent nations.

"We cannot understand how this can intimidate anyone because we offer everyone our open hearts and a welcoming hand."

GAVRILO PRINCIP - the bullet that started World War I ! ZORAN DERNOVSEK - the rocket that ended Yugoslavist rule and opened the door for Macedonian independence.

Gavrilo Princip remains a controversial figure - the teenage Bosnian Serb who assassinated Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand on 28 June 1914 in Sarajevo - some regard him a hero, others a misguided, angry naive terrorist manipulated by Serb nationalists. In terms of Macedonian history, Princip is a very marginal figure at best. The onset of World War I didn’t change Macedonia’s situation - it remained partitioned by Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria and devasted by the Balkan Wars of 1912-13.

But the Princip narrative, which is largely a Serbian-Yugoslavist one, still gets emphasis in Macedonia, whilst Zoran Dernovsek, the Slovenian soldier who fired the rocket on the 27 June 1991 which opened up the path for Macedonian independence, for the first time in a millennium, is largely ignored.

One proponent of the Princip-Yugoslavist narrative in Macedonia is Balkan Insight reporter Sinisa Jakov Marusic who in a “collective effort” with other Balkan Insight reporters focused on Princip’s tenuous link to Macedonia but oddly left out Slovenia, which was at the time of World War I, under Austro-Hungarian rule. Princip’s assassination had an enormous impact upon Slovenia. see link


Meet the brave man, Zoran Dernovšek, who helped end Belgrade's Federalist rule in Slovenia and who opened the door for Macedonia's independence.

For some strange reason Macedonia's media - both government and opposition - are obsessed with Vojislav Seselj, Alexander Vucic, Srdja Popovic, Zoran Vraniskovski, Ceca, Gavrilo Princip and so on.

Dernovšek, a Slovenian Territorial Defence soldier, brought down one of the two JNA choppers and averted a massacre of Slovenian civilians.



His account:

"Mi-8 was the first aircraft of Yugoslav Army brought down in wars in Yugoslavia.

"It was hit and brought down on 27th June 1991 at 18.35 close to the village Ig (Mah) near Ljubljana (capital city of Slovenia), just about 5 seconds prior it opened fire on Training camp of Slovenian Territorial Defence and village itself. The destroyed helicopter was lead chopper of three Mi-8 fully armed helicopters with the mission of destroying the training camp and the Ig village by rocket attack and by deploying airborne special forces of Yugoslav Army from Niš, Serbia.

"It was a clear case of self - defence act where about 4,500 people were saved from certain death or injury.

"Next hit down was Gazelle Sa-341 at 19.20 in the same day, close to parliament building in capital city of Ljubljana.”

The Ten-Day War (Slovene: desetdnevna vojna) or the Slovenian Independence War (slovenska osamosvojitvena vojna), also the Weekend War (vikend-vojna) was a brief war of independence that followed the Slovenian declaration of independence on 25 June 1991. It was fought between the Slovenian Territorial Defence (Slovene: Teritorialna obramba Republike Slovenije) and the Yugoslav People's Army (YPA). It lasted from 27 June 1991 until 7 July 1991, when the Brioni Accords were signed.

YUGOSLAV ARMY COLONEL - Aksientijevic: as soon as the rocket hit, Yugoslavia was finished. source: BBC documentary.